In the era of Industry 4.0, big data and computing technologies are driving the future of manufacturing. While these innovations are extremely valuable for manufacturers, the increasing speed of technological change also means that equipment components are prone to quicker obsolescence.
According to the definition from the International Institute of Obsolescence Management (IIOM), obsolescence is the unavailability of parts or services that were previously available, and usually occurs when the components of a system are no longer produced by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) or when the latter is no longer in business. This means that when these components break or experience a malfunction, replacements can be hard to find.
Obsolescence is the by-product of continuous technological advances and as such it cannot be eliminated completely, especially now that manufacturers are under more pressure than ever before to digitalise their facilities. However, plant managers shouldn’t feel forced to perform costly systems upgrades every time an obsolete component breaks.
Obsolete doesn’t mean useless or underperforming, and sourcing a like-for-like replacement can be quick and easy with the help of a specialised supplier. Additionally, in highly regulated industries such as nuclear and pharmaceutical manufacturing, upgrades also mean realms of paperwork and red tape, making like-for-like replacements the easiest choice.
This is the basic idea behind managing obsolescence in a manufacturing facility—maintaining systems by sourcing obsolete components in a timely and cost-efficient way. With a proactive obsolescence management plan in place, legacy equipment can be perfectly integrated into a smart factory, allowing manufacturers to digitalise their plants while saving money and reducing their environmental footprint. Let’s see how in seven simple steps.
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